I truly love discovering new artists, but especially when they are LOCAL to the Cranford-Westfield area. I’m thrilled to introduce the talented artist Lisa Puccio Kobin to my readers! Her portrait of Cranford’s Triestina Restaurant is just one of her many works that is sure to put a big fat smile on your face.
Originally from Garden City, NY, Lisa has lived in Westfield for the past ten years, where she juggles raising her three children with running a successful business. Lisa launched Crystal Alley — Fine Art & Design two years ago, and you can see from the photos here that her artistic skills and services are far-reaching! She specializes in custom painted acrylic portraits of pets and homes, as well as graphic design, murals, chalk art, and photography. She’s crafty as heck as well: her Holiday DIY Gift Wrap segment was featured on NY1 News in 2014! Did I mention that Lisa also sings professionally? Seriously, is there anything this woman can’t do??
Lisa has been interested in the creative arts since she was a child, when she came up with the name “Crystal Alley” for her imaginary business (and of course that name stuck!). Between the faux Crystal Alley of her youth and her current thriving business, Lisa received a BA in Fashion Design & Merchandising, studied at Parson’s School of Design, interned under well-known fashion designers, and took a slew of fine art courses. When her kids were very young, Lisa did freelance art and design projects until she was ready to launch Crystal Alley.
I had actually seen some of Lisa’s work before but never knew the artist behind the paintings! Her house and pet portraits are popular in our area, where people take great pride in both their beautiful homes and their four-legged friends. According to Lisa, “The feeling of creating something for good is beyond explanation. Sometimes it’s a painting for a new homeowner who is so excited to have just bought their first place. Sometimes, it’s for a recent home seller who raised their entire family in the house and has recently recently moved away but wants the memory to hang on their new walls for years to come. A pet portrait can be for someone who just got a new pet, or sadly, who lost one. There are so many emotions beyond the artwork, and I love to know the stories before I start doing my part. It feels so good to hear when a customer is happy because of something you were able to create.”
Check out this video of the work in progress:
I asked Lisa why she decided to do a portrait of Triestina Restaurant on Centennial Ave. in Cranford. She replied, “I always love the challenge of rendering brick in my paintings. Our house is brick as well, so maybe I’m a bit partial to that style. Triestina also happens to be one of my favorite restaurants–I find their restaurant very charming both inside and out, and their food is amazing!”
Lisa went on, “I would love to paint more well-known buildings in our area. I’d like to even start painting some churches.” I’m sure those painting would be a hit; I could picture them selling at local boutiques such as Simply Art & Framing in Cranford and Gallery U Boutique in Westfield, hint, hint.
If you know of any other talented artists local to our area, don’t hesitate to send ’em my way!